Italian eaterie’s under fire over a floor furore

Antonio Carluccio.
Antonio Carluccio.

A RESTAURANT named after a celebrity chef has come under fire for making Grade II-listed Berkhamsted Town Hall look ‘blooming awful’.

Carluccio’s wants to lay a floating timber floor on top of its Victorian flagstone floor – but was refused planning permission for the work by Dacorum Borough Council.

It has laid part of the removable wooden base in the eatery regardless – but claims this was done without flouting planning rules.

Laurence Handy, chairman of Berkhamsted Town Council’s planning committee, said: “I spotted it earlier on and thought, ‘Gosh, what have they done? That’s very naughty.’

“It looks blooming awful and wholly out of character with what’s already there.

“People just come to Berkhamsted and think they can do what they like. This is unacceptable behaviour.”

But Carluccio’s says it laid the new flooring over a part of the stone floor that had already been tiled over. The firm says it did not need planning permission to do that.

Chief executive officer Simon Kossoff said: “We are delighted to be in Berkhamsted – and by the response of Berkhamsted people – and there’s nothing we would want to do to cause any degree of upset to the local community.

“The suggestion that we want to ride roughshod over a historic building is just not right.”

He said the wooden floor would preserve the stone floor without damaging it, be cleaner, less noisy and could be removed at any time.

Dacorum Borough Council had begun an investigation into whether a planning breach has occurred.

After Carluccio’s appealed to the Planning Inspectorate against the decision to refuse planning permission, the investigation was halted.

It will begin again if the appeal is rejected.